dyslexia

Dyslexia: How to Understand This Learning Disorder

Dyslexia is a learning disorder that affects the way a person processes language. This disorder exhibits itself in reading difficulties, as a person with dyslexia has issues with “decoding” language. “Decoding” refers to our ability to identify speech sounds and how they relate to written language. When a child has dyslexia, they might struggle with school, as much of the school curriculum is based upon the written word and texts. Learning disorders can have a more significant impact on your child than you might imagine. Dyslexia and other learning disorders do not only affect your child’s ability to read and comprehend knowledge; they can also adversely impact your child’s development of self-esteem and belonging during their formative years. 

Dyslexia Explained

Chester Simmons explains his experience with dyslexia in the podcast “Being Cool With Dyslexia” with Fire Mountain’s Aaron Huey as part of the “Beyond Risk and Back” series. Chester describes dyslexia as the confusion of words due to the reversal of letters. For example, someone with dyslexia may confuse “p” with “b” and vice versa. This confusion results in the misspelling and misreading of words. Although the reversals and mistakes are consistent and recurring, a person with dyslexia would have a difficult time knowing if they made a mistake or not. As a result, schools might hold kids back in grades or place them into special learning classes. Commonly, children with dyslexia also have an attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

The Effects Beyond Learning

The effects of a learning disability go beyond a child’s comprehension of their studies in school. When a child enters school, they are socializing for the first time. Kids put themselves into “hierarchies” during school. Kids with a learning disorder might carry a stigma or label that sets them apart from other children. Children with dyslexia might find socializing within their peer group difficult due to being seen as “different.” These distinctions among children can impact how they socialize. A learning disorder could impact your child’s ability to make friends or relate to most of their peers. The school may place your child in a separate class or curriculum due to their dyslexia. Being separated from other children can result in multiple social issues.

Children with a learning disorder might internalize their struggles. They may feel like they are not as worthy or as “good” as other children due to their academic difficulties. Your child can develop lower self-esteem as a result of their dyslexia. If your child has a learning disorder, be mindful of their confidence and self-esteem. They may need more attention and praise at home if they feel a lack of positive attention during school. Children can be sensitive to the labels placed upon them at an early age. These labels can have lasting impacts that can lead to problematic issues as they grow older. Low-esteem can lead to poor decision-making, risky behaviors, and addiction as a form of “self-medicating” to feel good about themselves.

Technology Can Help

During the podcast mentioned above, Chester Simmons questions why typical school curriculum is based upon written words when videos and audio mediums can substitute. Your child might not have difficulty with comprehension of knowledge but with the means of providing the information. Your kid might respond and learn best to spoken language, as decoding is not required to comprehend spoken words. Dyslexia affects only the ability to read language, not the ability to understand what they learn. Your child likely understands the current curriculum; however, they might have an easier time through a different means of learning. With the availability of online lectures, classes, books “on tape,” and other audio materials, your child can find their pathway to learning that circumvents their disability. 

Helping Your Kids in the School

Parents can advocate for their children in school. Laws about disabilities entitle everyone to equal and fair treatment by schools. Your child should have the same opportunities as other students in the school. As a parent, you can go to battle for your kid to get the support and help they need to succeed. When you advocate for your kid, you also teach them to stand up for themselves and fight for their needs. Your child might need your help to get the fair treatment that they deserve in school. When you get this help early on, you give your child a better chance at a successful academic experience. Teaching your child to advocate for themselves and achieve regardless of dyslexia can help them build the confidence and resilience they need for the rest of their lives!

Dyslexia can impact your child’s ability to learn, develop social skills, have a sense of belonging, and build self-esteem. Children with dyslexia might also have attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Both disorders are treatable and do not mean that your child needs to settle for a less than equitable school experience. All children deserve an equal chance at learning and excelling in academic pursuits. You can advocate for your child by learning more about dyslexia and standing up for your child’s needs in school. Your child can learn how to advocate for themselves by following your example as you stand up for them. Low self-esteem and inadequate feelings of belonging can lead to more critical issues in your child’s life. If your child struggles with problematic issues due to an underlying learning disorder, Fire Mountain Residential Treatment Center is here to help. We believe that every child and family deserves a fair chance at success and happiness. Call us today at (303) 443-3343. We’re here to help your family’s fire burn brightest! 

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